To understand Psalm 100, consider what is written written just before verse 1. When you look at the subscript written just before verse 1 of Psalm 100, even before you get to the psalm, you find these words: “A Psalm of Thanksgiving.” There are several psalms that speak about thanksgiving, but this is the only psalm in which the scholars titled it, “A Psalm of Thanksgiving”
We give God thanks in our prayers. No doubt we are thankful to God for our families. We are thankful to God for Jesus. We are thankful to God for our physical provisions. We are thankful to God for our freedoms.
Have you ever stopped to wonder why? When you read through this Psalm and look at the first four verses, you will find commands that require you to be thankful. Why? It is not because God needs our gratitude. In fact, God does not need one thing from you (Acts 17.24,25). So when we are required to give God thanks, it is not because God longs to hear us say “Thank you”.
God requires us to be thankful to Him not because it is something that He needs, but because it is something that we need. When we are thankful, it does something for us. In this psalm, we will find four things that gratitude can do for us.
The word "shout" comes from a Hebrew word that means "to mar (specially by breaking). Figuratively to split the ears with sound” [Strong].
There are some who sing and it hurts your ears because the singing is so awful, but that isn’t what this verse is describing. There are sounds that are so loud and so piercing that it feels like they are going to make your ears bleed. There are some sounds that are so loud that you think they are going to shatter your eardrums.
That is the concept of this word. Our expressions of joy need to be so loud and passionate that we are splitting the ears of everyone around us.
The word "gladness" describes the idea of being gleeful where joy is expressed with the eyes. Have you ever seen someone that was so happy that their eyes smiled? Have you ever given a birthday present to your child, and it was exactly what they wanted? Their eyes shine with a sparkle as they jump up and down, and they are so happy they can hardly contain themselves.
That is the concept of gladness. We are to make a noise that breaks the eardrums of all around you, and serve the Lord with eyes that sparkle and shine with joy.
The word "singing" in verse 2 means to shout with joy. We sing a lot of songs that have a variety of moods. Some songs you might sing are sad and mournful. The singing described in verse 2 isn’t just any kind of singing. It is a singing with joy.
When you put those thoughts together, verses 1 and 2 tell us that we are to break the eardrums with joy. We are to serve the Lord with bright eyes of gladness. We are sing songs of joy. This is contained in a psalm that is about gratitude.
When we are grateful to God, the result of our gratitude is the desire to shout and sing with joy and gladness. Those who are the most grateful are also the most happy. God wants us to be happy, and it is gratitude that contributes to happiness.
The verse begins with "know that the LORD, He is God."
Knowing that the LORD is God is important. We need to know this.
The word "LORD" is in all capital letters. In the original Hebrew, it is the word "Yahweh." It is a name that describes God as the self-existing One. He is the great I AM (Ex. 3.13,14). The psalmist says that here is something that you need to know. What you need to know is that the Great I AM, the Self-Existing One is God. The God of the Bible who is the Father of Jesus is the one and only God.
Verse three goes on to say that "it is He who has made us, and not we ourselves."
You need to know that you are a product. You have been created. You have been created by the LORD, who is God. You are precious, valuable, and important. You have been made in the image of God. That is something that cannot be said of any other living creature. That makes you special. We are not God, but we were formed in the image of God (Gen. 1.26).
There is no self-made man. There is no boasting in ourselves. There is no bragging about our greatness and accomplishments. We did not make ourselves.
Verse three continues with "We are His people and the sheep of His pasture.”
This is God’s world. We are His produce. We need to know that.
Here is a psalm of thanksgiving and within it is the reminder that God is in control and that all things belong to Him. When you are grateful to God, it helps you remember who God is, and it keeps how you view yourself into perspective. Gratitude keeps you humble.
The Bible concept of worship is to give God a standing ovation. It is as if God walked into the building, and we all stand up and cheer. That’s the concept of praise. We are to enter into the place of worship and give God a standing ovation by being thankful to Him.
We are to bless His name. The word "bless" is the idea of speaking well of someone. When you are grateful to God and have a heart of thanksgiving, you come and worship God by standing up and cheering saying good things about Him. Gratitude moves you to worship.
In the Jewish temple, there were four gates that led into various courts in the courtyard. In the middle of the courtyard there was the sanctuary and the Holiest of all. The psalmist writes that when you enter into His gates and come into the courtyard, you come with praise, blessing His name, and you do so with a heart of thanksgiving.
Have you worshiped God and struggled with staying focused on whatever area of worship you were doing, whether it be singing, concentrating on the Lord death, praying, listening to the sermon? Here is something that will help you. Come to the worship of the church with a grateful heart. Come with the express purpose of saying thank you to God.
When you think about God, you know that He will always be a God who is good. He will always be a God who has a heart for mankind. He will always be a God who will act in the best interest of His people. His truth will endure to all generations. That is the God whom we serve. That is who He was before He created the heavens and the earth. That is who He will be long after this earth is gone. Because of who He is, we are forever thankful.
Jesus shed His blood on the cross. They embedded a crown of thorns on His head. They drove 6 to 8 inch spikes into His hands and His feet. He endured all of that for you and for me. That is the kind of God we serve. Are you grateful? Let us never forget.